Monday, September 13, 2021

Sproul 83K-16, N83KX: Accident occurred September 12, 2021 in Ryegate, Caledonia County, Vermont

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine
Location: Ryegate, VT 
Accident Number: ERA21LA366
Date & Time: September 12, 2021, 09:27 Local
Registration: N83KX
Aircraft: SPROUL KEITH A 83K-16
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SPROUL KEITH A 
Registration: N83KX
Model/Series: 83K-16 
Aircraft Category: Balloon
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMPV,1121 ft msl
Observation Time: 09:51 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C /14°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 12 knots / 20 knots, 210°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 44.187864,-72.151031 (est)

RYEGATE, Vermont — Federal transportation officials are investigating the crash of a hot-air balloon Sunday morning that had taken off from the Post Mills Airport.

Troopers were called to Farquharson Drive, which runs south of Route 302 in Ryegate, Vermont, around 8:30 a.m. and said the pilot and passenger were both uninjured.

Keith Sproul, 62, of North Brunswick, New Jersey, had taken off from the Post Mills Airport with passenger Olivia Miller, 20, of Tewskbury, Massachusetts and “attempted to slow the balloon by brushing the tops of trees,” according to a Vermont State Police news release.

The two-person “chariot-style” balloon had a bench seat, and when they made contact with the trees Sproul “was pushed forward from the seat and unable to control the balloon.” He then “talked Miller through landing the balloon into the trees which caused damage to the balloon, the news release said.

The Ryegate crash site is about 30 miles from the Post Mills Airport.

Both were evaluated by first responders at the scene and said they were uninjured. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

The Experimental Balloon and Airship Association was holding a meet this weekend at the Post Mills Airport, which was owned by the late Brian Boland, who was killed in Bradford, Vermont in July during a balloon crash near the Connecticut River. 

VSP News Release-Incident


CASE#: 21A405011     
RANK/TROOPER FULL NAME: Tpr. J Lewis                             
STATION:  VSP St. Johnsbury                       
CONTACT#: 802-222-4680 

DATE/TIME: 9/12/2021 0830 hours

INCIDENT LOCATION: Farguharson Dr. Ryegate, Vermont

INCIDENT: Balloon Crash 

OPERATOR:   Keith Sproul

AGE: 62

CITY, STATE OF RESIDENCE:  North Brunswick, New Jersey

PASSENGER: Olivia Miller

AGE: 20

CITY, STATE OF RESIDENCE: Tewksbury, Massachusetts
SUMMARY OF INCIDENT: On September 12th 2021 at approximately 0830 hours Troopers with the VT State Police responded to a balloon into the trees on Farguharson Dr. in Ryegate. Troopers arrived on scene and were advised the operator Keith Sproul and passenger Olivia Miller were uninjured. Troopers learned they had taken off from Post Mills Airport and were flying in the area of Farguharson Dr. in Ryegate when Sproul attempted to slow the balloon by brushing the tops of trees. The balloon was a 2 person chariot style with a bench seat and when they brushed the top of the trees Sproul was pushed forward from the seat and unable to control the balloon. Sproul talked Miller through landing the balloon into the trees which caused damage to the balloon. Both Sproul and Miller were evaluated by EMS and reported they were uninjured. This incident is being further investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.   

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